A Theology of Interruptions (Or What God is Teaching Me Lately)

“As he went along, he saw a man blind from birth”

I’ve recently finished reading through the Gospels and as I read God has really impressed upon me how Jesus did His ministry. Jesus was constantly walking around and going from place to place and all four of the Gospels are filled with lines like the above, where Jesus was on his way to something, or going to see someone, or eating dinner somewhere, and then someone came up to him, or he saw someone there, or someone was brought to him. And it never resulted in Jesus saying “Hey man, I’m eating here” or “I’m sorry ma’am, I’m on my way to Judea”, but instead resulted in Jesus taking time to heal the wounded, soothe the grieving, and love the unlovely.

And as I read these scenes over and over and over I realized how many times I get so caught up in my plans, my destinations, my goals and I don’t even notice the people and opportunities around me. Now don’t get me wrong, I’m not saying you shouldn’t have plans or goals, as Jesus was quite intentional with what He did. But I do think that we (or I) get so caught up in what we’re focused on that we might miss something that God has for us to do right in front of us. Or we might choose not to engage a ministry opportunity because it just isn’t convenient, it doesn’t fit our expectation, or it’s a little (sometimes a lot) messy.

What would our churches look like if we spent our days actively looking for God’s work for us? What would our Christian lives look like? Jesus interrupted His existence to come to earth for us¹, are we willing to interrupt our lives for service to Him?

1. Philippians 2:5-7 “Have this mind among yourselves, which is yours in Christ Jesus,  who, though he was in the form of God, did not count equality with God a thing to be grasped,  but emptied himself, by taking the form of a servant, being born in the likeness of men.”

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I’m going to Cambodia…

Friends and Family,

It’s hard to believe that it’s mid-March already. I feel like the year has just begun and now we’re almost to Easter. Of course spending most of our waking hours chasing two energetic one-year olds around the house does make the day go by a lot faster. Marcus and Micah are keep us quite busy and have entered their “explorer” phase…aka anything that can be climbed on, pulled open, put in their mouth, or thrown down usually is. But they are sweet little boys that have fun personalities and always bring much joy to our lives.

Although I’m definitely overdue for an update, I’m actually writing because I have an exciting oppcambodia maportunity coming up, and I’d love to involve you. In the middle of May, I’ll be embarking on a week-long medical missions trip in Cambodia with a doctor from my church and several others from another state. We will fly to Phnom Penh, the capital of Cambodia, and after staying for a day there, will then head out into the Cambodian countryside to conduct medical clinics with local missionaries and medical workers. No, I am not a doctor, but as I’ve done on previous trips I will be helping with check-in, taking vital signs, helping distribute medicines, etc…as well as spending time sitting and talking about Jesus with anyone that is interested.

This is such an exciting time for me. Although I’ve been on many mission trips and have even done medical ones, heading to Asia will be a completely new experience. So why do I feel it important to do these medical trips? Well, I really believe that by doing something tangible, such as setting up clinics, we will be able to connect with people in a way that simply talking with them cannot. Medicine offers an incredible way to reach a people who are often shy or even suspicious of Protestant Christians. Plus, we’re offering a service that everyone needs and providing access to healthcare in areas where it is not readily available. The clinics also help the missionaries on the ground develop and maintain relationships with the locals in each area, which is vitally important to the spread of the Gospel.

There are several ways I could use your help—most involve prayer, but I could also use financial support. Specifically, you could:

  1. Pray for the people in Cambodia. Pray that they will begin to see and feel God’s love for them. Pray that their hearts will be soft, and our compassionate mission will lead them to the true God.
  2. Pray that the team on the ground in Cambodia continues to thrive in their work. Pray that God ministers mightily through them.
  3. Pray that I would be prepared mentally and spiritually for the journey and the work and for Kristen as she cares for Marcus and Micah while I’m gone.
  4. And this is the big one, pray for finances and support me financially. I need your support to get to Cambodia. If you are interested in supporting me, please mail a check to:

Mission to the World Donations

P.O. Box 2589

Suwanee, GA  30024-0982

My support account number is 12466, so please write this number and my name on the memo line of the check.

OR you can donate online by going to https://donations.mtw.org/donors/login.php

That will bring up a login screen.  You will be asked to create an account.

On the next screen that comes up you can choose the support account number (alphabetical by last name (Fielder) and my account number is 12466)

That will drop down more choices and you can enter the dollar amount. After you enter the amount, click next.  From there, you will provide your contact info, address, etc.

While money is important, I covet your prayer support as I prepare to go! Please let me know that I can count on you in the months ahead. Stick this letter in your Bible, and remember me each time you read!

Thank you for your prayers and support,

Sam

 

 

Sam’s Choice: My Top Songs for 2014

SamsYeah, so it’s been awhile.  And I can’t really fault you if you’ve stopped coming here since I haven’t posted in ages, but something about having twin 1 year-olds really takes up a lot of time and energy.  But that still didn’t stop me from finding some new music to enjoy in 2014 and as I do pretty much every year, I’ve put together the songs that were new to me this year and which I’ll remember 2014 by.

I’ve also done something new and put them all in a Spotify playlist that’s at the bottom so you can easily push play and let them roll.  They aren’t really in any order, since that would take more time and effort than I have right now.  And finally, here’s all my past top songs posts if you’re interested – 20132012, 2011, 2010, and 2009. Anyway, onto the songs.

1. Southern Skies by Matrimony – A breezy upbeat song that has a shouty chorus.  If you’ve read any of my past lists you can definitely see why this one made the list.

2. Stronger Than That by Bahamas – Love me some Bahamas. His new album is really good and this is my favorite track off of it. Showcases all of his best qualities, namely that insanely catchy guitar hook and smooth vocals.

3. Scarecrow by Counting Crows – The first single off the new Crows album and about what you’d expect from them now. Tight sound, fun lyrics and all around goodness.  For whatever reason there has been an abnormal number of days that I’ve woken up with this song in my head the past year.

4. Southern Sun by Brother Bear – The second entry with Southern in the title.  It’s like I live in the South or something. But this song is also one of those songs that as soon as I heard it I knew it’d end up here. Catchy and fun.

5. Buttons by The Weeks – This is one of those songs that just gets the blood pumping and the feet tapping a little bit. It cemented its place here one afternoon when it came on as I was in a bad mood and I rolled down the windows and turned up the volume and just let it wash over me.  And afterwards I felt better.  So there’s that.

6. Then Came The Morning by The Lone Bellow – New album out in 2 weeks and with their sophmore release the Lone Bellow aim to capture some of the magic that they have in their live shows that doesn’t really translate on their recordings. I love this song for all of its twangy sensibilities and the fact that it really sounds like Brooklyn country to me.

7. Only One by John Butler Trio – Vintage JBT. Fast paced dancy song that keeps you moving. there’s something aobut his voice that is so distinctive but in a familiar and wonderful way.  All of it makes for a great song.

8. Hey Rose by Streets of Laredo – A new artist to me and a really great song that has all the requisites to make it here on this list.  And I love the ending flurry as well.

9. Low Key by Tweedy – My favorite song off of the solo project by Jeff Tweedy, lead singer of Wilco. Vintage sound here, catchy and whimsical while sounding so solid.

10. We’re All In This Together by Sam Roberts Band – Another great offering by Sam Roberts and co. Vocal harmonics and great pacing with an anthemic chorus all make for a fun song.

11. Ash & Ember by Augustana – One of the few good songs on their new album.  I love Augustana but the new album that came out this year was not phenomenal, especially given the high level of their previous work.  But this song is still vintage Augustana and warranted an inclusion here.

12. Light Will Keep Your Heart Beating In The Future by Mike Doughty – This song grew on me progressively throughout the year and the beat and way he sings ultimtaly won me over.

13. Congregation by Foo Fighters – I absolutely love Sonic Highways multipart documentary that Dave Grohl and the boys put together for HBO this fall.  It’s been a cool look at some famous music cities and various artists that are identified with those places.  This is the song from Nashville recorded with Zac Brown in his recodring studio, which is an old church.  Vintage Foo’s here.

14. California (Cast Iron Soul) by Jamestown Revival – What a phenomenal song. I had a rough February and this song was on repeat over and over and it always made me feel a little better when I heard it.  Probably my favorite song of 2014.

So there you go. All the songs I’ll remember 2014 by. Enjoy.

Love and Sweatpants.

The B-BLT Pizza – The Summer of Pizza

SummerofPizzaWell, I guess it was bound to happen.  After 2 pretty good returns on the pizzas, I had my first setback in the Summer of Pizza.  In retrospect I don’t really think that it was totally my fault (of course it wasn’t right?) but it still resulted in a really small pizza. So here’s what happened…to save time (as a parent of twins saving time on meals is a MUST) I used premade dough from the grocery store and I’ve started halving the dough to make the crust better and thinner.  I put the unused portion in the freezer and I think that ended up taking some of the moisture out of the dough and also messed with the yeast, all of which meant that the crust ended up about half the size that I wanted it to be and was too thin as well.

So while it wasn’t a total disaster, it still could have been better.  But I digress.  The pizza of choice was a B-BLT, which is a Blue Cheese – Bacon Lettuce Tomato pizza.  Premade tomato base with zliced cherry tomatoes, basil, garlic, olive oil, and balsamic vinegar goes on top of a flavored olive oil on the crust and then the precooked and crumbled bacon and blue cheese goes on top to melt in.  Finally it all gets topped with grilled heart of romaine lettuce and there you have a B-BLT pizza.

The pizza itself, aside form the jacked up crust, was pretty good but I think since it was so small and I had a ton of extra toppings, it ended up being a little too much and the blue cheese was a little overwhelming.  It’s one I’d like to try again at some point but for now the summer of pizza rolls on.

Photo May 31, 7 48 38 PM

Drunken Shrimp Pizza – The Summer of Pizza

SummerofPizzaThe second round of the Summer of Pizza definitely saw some branching out in terms of toppings and flavor and honestly showed why this experiment is so interesting as I don’t think I’d ever try shrimp on a pizza if not for this idea.

Drunken Shrimp Pizza consists of shrimp that have been marinated in vodka, hot sauce, olive oil, and garlic and then grilled and added to a pizza of cheese, sauce, kalamta olives, and lemon zest, then topped with salt & pepper.  It was a good pizza, but as my Wonderful Wife pointed out, cheese and seafood can be a little tricky sometimes. I think that I was expecting a little more kick from the shrimp thanks to the marinade but they ended up being pretty mild.  It was still pretty good though.

The crust though, was amazing.  I used about half as much dough this time and completely nailed my cooking times based on my experience last week and the crust was just the right crispyness and thickness and it turned out great.  So I’m pretty sure I’ve got that part down now and can be confident the base for the rest of the Summer of Pizza.

Drunken Shrimp Pizza

The Summer of Pizza

It started innocently enough.  I saw a recipe for a good pizza on twitter and decided to go for it.  When all was said and done the pizza was good, the kitchen was blazing hot, and my Wonderful Wife and I had decided that I need to continue to make homemade pizzas, but maybe make them on the grill instead.  Good call.

Less than a week later she came home with the Pizza on the Grill cookbook and I started drooling…I mean flipping through it.  I love cooking on the grill and use it most nights in the summer so why not expand my repertoire to include pizza?  The instructions seemed simple enough and after buying a pizza peel to use, it was time to make the maiden voyage.

I went with a traditional recipe pizza for the first one, just sauce, mozzarella cheese, tomatoes, and basil.  It was good, to be sure, but there was also room for improvement.  My crust was a little thick and a little burnt, but that didn’t prevent us from deciding that this would be the #SummerOfPizza.

So keep an eye out both here and on twitter and we work our way through the cookbook and enjoy all the unique and delicious recipes contained therein.  And if I happen to learn anything about cooking pizza on the grill along the way, I’ll pass that along too.

Here’s the first attempt and while it looks small, it’s actually fairly large.  And pretty tasty too.

Pizza on the Grill 1

Mother’s Day – The Other Side of Celebration

I’m sure you are aware that yesterday was Mother’s Day.  And it was entirely appropriate and wonderful that an entire day was set aside to celebrate the impact and influence of mothers in our lives.  But this year, more than most, I spent a fair amount of time thinking about the other side of Mother’s Day.  I’ve been blessed to have an amazing mother who loves me and did a wonderful job in raising me (at least I think so) and has always been there for me.  And this year I was able to celebrate  my Wonderful Wife as a mother to our two boys for the first time.

But maybe it is the fact that as we were celebrating with those sweet little boys, their birth mother was having another day without them, that gave me pause.  And I started thinking about how Mother’s Day is an incredibly hard day for many people for many different reasons.  In the past year I’ve had friends that have miscarried, lost a child, lost their mother, or have gone another entire year without being able to have a child.  And it makes me sad.  For them, each social media post of faded old pictures and proclamations of greatest mother ever is a reminder of what was, what had been, or what isn’t.

I don’t know what I do about this.  I don’t know that there is anything that I can do about this, except to pray for my friends and realize that if I, in my limited view, know of this many people that are struggling on this day, that surely there are others in my life I don’t know about, and that their experiences are multiplied many times over across our world.  It’s probably weird to think about these things on a day when so many people are so happy and celebrating, but my relationship with God is such that I truly believe I am called to rejoice with those who rejoice and to weep with those who weep, sometimes all in the same day, maybe even in the same breath.

I don’t know what their pain feels like.  I can’t relate to their frustrations and longings in a way that carries much meaning.  But I can let them know they aren’t alone and that others know that yesterday was hard for them.  And if you’re reading this and yesterday was hard for you, I’m sorry.  I wish it wasn’t.  I wish I had better answers for you and I wish I could make all things new again.  But I can’t.  I know the one who can though, and while it doesn’t make life here any easier, please know God loves you more than you could ever even begin to imagine.  And if you aren’t in this boat, try and be sensitive to those around you that are hurting and be ever thankful for the blessings you have.